Celebrating 40 Years of Amazing Animals: Abby

Animals are not just our companions, they are our heroes – guarding our homes, working as service dogs, and even rescuing their families from burning buildings. As TVMF celebrates its 40th Anniversary, we want to take a moment to recognize some of the extraordinary animals that have been inducted into the Texas Animal Hall of Fame.

In this week’s edition, we’d like to honor TVMF’s Texas Animal Hall of Fame winner, a Shetland Sheepdog named Abby.

Inducted: August 2001
Owned by: Jeff and Jennifer Brandt
Nominated by: Dr. Charles Robert (Bobby) Hart

Everyone knows the scene from the famous television series: Lassie jumps around and barks madly until someone asks, “What’s the matter, girl?” and follows her to find a person in dire need of help. While most of us think of that as fiction, Jeff and Jennifer Brandt can attest that it does indeed happen.

Jeff Brandt’s stepfather, Bill Hoover, decided to take his dog Cricket and his stepson’s dog Abby out for a walk. His health wasn’t what it used to be, and he had been having problems keeping his balance while walking. He had already fallen down a few times. On this particular day, he lost his balance as he bent over to adjust Cricket’s leash and was unable to get back up.

Realizing that her grandfather was in trouble, Abby, who was off her leash, ran home to get help. Jeff’s mother, Sandra, was in the house in the kitchen. Abby ran back and forth outside the kitchen windows, barking incessantly. Sandra wondered what was bothering Abby and went outside. When Abby saw that she had gotten Sandra’s attention, she ran off in Bill’s direction. Sandra followed Abby right to Bill and helped him up. He was a little shaken, but he was not hurt.

Once she knew that everything was under control there, Abby focused her efforts on bringing home Cricket, who had disappeared during the commotion. She soon found Cricket in a neighbor’s yard. When Sandra and Bill saw them next, Abby was holding Cricket by the collar and herding her home.

“Abby did not hesitate to do what she could do to help Bill,” said Jennifer Brandt. “She is a wonderful, loving part of our family. We are proud of her heroism.”

Dr. Charles Robert “Bobby” Hart of Walnut Creek Animal Clinic in Mansfield nominated her. She is one of his patients.

“Our profession is honored to care for the many ‘Abbys’ in our lives. These are the daily rewards of our career choice,” said Dr. Hart. “However, the extraordinary act of heroism and caring by Abby was a unique and wonderful exclamation point in the lives of two families.”